A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Today’s post comes from our friend Peter, age 24, who has been living with us for about a week. He sent this out to friends and gave me permission to use it here.

I’m being a bad tourist this week, hardly venturing out beyond the high walls of my friend’s house to take in a new culture. Part of the problem is that I’m helping out with the building of a brick wall, which is fun in a gritty sort of way. Another problem is that my Spanish has decayed beyond all recognition. But having been in Mexico for just under a week, I can still report on it a little because one of the most fascinating parts of the country is how noisy it is, and noise doesn’t recognize walls. So imagine sitting on a small patch of turf next to a banana tree – that would be my friend’s front yard. Kick back for 24 hours and you’ll hear all or at least most of this:

* A roving public address system repeating the words ” Zeta GaaaAAAAAS.” That’s the propane truck. Personal vehicles are rare in this lakeside village of 6,000, about an hour south of Guadalajara, so the hydrocarbons come to you.

* Another P.A. system based in the church steeple, this one broadcasting announcements of general interest to the townsfolk. Forget TV and radio. Newspapers haven’t even put the town crier out of business yet. The steeple also, naturally, has a bell.

* Random vendors, also using truck-mounted P.A.s, selling everything from cure-all remedies to bananas. Since you’re sitting next to a banana tree, you can ignore them.

* Ad hoc fireworks displays that focus on noise over visual display. This happened at one in the morning a couple of days ago, and the next day at a more reasonable hour. Apparently, when you get the urge, nothing else will do.

* Bad American pop music. Mariachi music originated in this, the state of Jalisco, but why listen to that when you can give the neighborhood the feel of a dance party in Laguna Beach? When I last traveled here, nearly two years ago, I attempted to get a few Mexican twenty somethings to listen to Bob Dylan. So long as they’re listening to American music, my reasoning went, they may as well listen to good American music. But I see now that my revolution has stalled. Obviously, this means I will have to try again, but this time with my ukulele. (Oddly enough, there is no Spanish word for ukulele, according to three waiters I asked today.)

* A horse, perhaps at three in the morning. It made the same ferocious neighing noise that horses make in cowboy movies when they’ve come upon a cliff and rear up on their hind legs with vigorous disapproval.

* Dogs barking. They will bark well into the night. At what? Who knows? Perhaps they are plotting to overthrow the government.

* Kids playing in the street. Streets are big here. See the part about no cars.

* Roosters.

* Mobile junk dealers. They buy raw materials for recycling. Their P.A. system offers money for such things as copper piping, which my friend Kelly finds hilarious since someone ripped off some of his copper piping once. The hot shower had to wait.

Needless to say sleeping was difficult for a while. But it helps to psychologically surrender to the place in all its grand weirdness. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good strategy for New Mexico too.

Next week I start a month-long certification course in English teaching. That’s in Guadalajara proper. From there it’s off to somewhere in the Spanish speaking world to put that training to use.

Comments from the old blog:

  • At October 19, 2007 7:20 PM,  Anonymous said…

    A 20-something male knows about, and is interested in, Bob Dylan? That’s the most unusual thing I have read in a long time.

  • At October 19, 2007 7:33 PM,  Rosana Hart said…

    He is a very unusual fellow. I hope you come back to see this link:

    http://www.mexico-with-heart.com/mexico-and-the-us/young-men/

  • At October 25, 2007 10:34 AM,  James said… Good luck with the english teaching, I hope he’ll start his own blog where ever he ends up.

UPDATE: Peter did start his own blog, and it’s at http://www.peterbrice.com — he ended up teaching English in Zamora, Michoacan, which is documented there with his own flair.

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